Who wouldn’t fancy going on a sweet escape to Palawan’s picture-perfect beaches and magical lagoons while savoring its island flavors for an ultimate tropical holiday? And we’re not just talking about seafood galore but also the other local delicacies, exotic cuisines and international favorites that this archipelago of more than 1,700 islands and islets has to offer.
As your eyes feast on the turquoise waters, karst limestones and diverse flora and fauna of the country’s “last ecological frontier,” your taste buds will also have a field day with the endless choices of restaurants and dessert places that showcase their own specialty dishes.
When traveling to Palawan, you may apply the famous mantra “go where the locals go” or “eat what the locals eat” for a more authentic and budget-friendly dining experience. But you can also explore other culinary offerings that will suit your palate or go to cafés and diners with an artsy ambience and IG-worthy interiors brimming with chill beach vibes!
You will never run out of things to do in this out-of-this-world paradise nestled in the western part of the Philippines: hop from one island to another, dive into the shipwrecks and coral reefs, watch beautiful sunsets, hike, surf, see magical fireflies, chase waterfalls, cruise through the Underground River, etc. That’s why you’ll need to stuff your tummy with some good eats that will pump up your energy for your island adventures!
In this list, we featured some of the must-try dishes in Palawan from the main course, bizarre food, cold desserts and even pasalubong for your loved ones. Going on a food trip is also a great addition to your itinerary in this tropical destination tagged as the “Best Island in the World,” don’t you think? Get ready to dig in!
Boodle Fight Meals
Be prepared to get your hands dirty, “attack the food” and eat a fiesta of rice, viands and vegetables – the military way! Boodle fight or kamayan is a popular local tradition in the Filipino culture where a scrumptious feast is served on banana leaves, and people eat the food with their bare hands. This communal style of dining is best enjoyed with a large group and should not be missed when you’re in Palawan.
Not only will you enjoy a wide range of fresh seafood like crabs, shrimps, mussels, grilled squid and bangus (milkfish), but you’ll also get to socialize with locals and fellow travelers who are gathered around a long table. Delicious boodle fights are usually included in boat tours during island hopping activities with a lovely beach as your backdrop for lunch. El Nido’s Boodle Fight Resto & Bar is a crowd favorite among diners – you can select whether you want an all-meat feast, the Palaweño seafood special or a combination of meat and seafood.
Feeling adventurous? Try tamilok, a famed exotic food in Palawan which is known by many as woodworm or shipworm. It may seem a bit weird-looking but before you freak out, this long and slimy delicacy is not actually a worm; it’s a mollusk just like snails, scallops, mussels and squids. Tamilok is a shell-less saltwater clam harvested from rotting mangrove trees and dead wood. This native dish is also believed to be an aphrodisiac and is available in a lot of local eateries in Palawan.
Some like it raw while others prefer it served ceviche or kinilaw-style (soaked in vinegar). A popular spot to grab a bite of this tasty, oyster-like delicacy is the Kinabuchs Grill and Bar in Puerto Princesa City, which also offers its deep-fried woodworm recipe. It’s definitely a must-try for first time tourists in Palawan!
Want a refreshing dessert to cool you down during hot and humid days on the island province? Tag your friends along and beat the heat with the yummy and super creamy halo-halo from Noki Nocs Savory House in Puerto Princesa.
This frozen treat is a mix of assorted ingredients like shaved ice, milk, sweet beans and fruits with ice cream and leche flan on top. Well recommended by locals, the classic Pinoy favorite from Noki Nocs is said to be one of the best halo-halo in town that will surely satisfy your sweet tooth. You can also pair your cold summer delight with palabok or hamburger to complete your merienda. If you’re into sweet corn, check out the mais con hielo on their menu.
Love your greens? The juicy grape-like seaweed known as lato—also called sea grapes or green caviar—is a must-try appetizer or side dish in Palawan. It has little green bulbs that burst in your mouth with salty tasting liquid like that of sea water. The freshly harvested lato is the perfect pair to a selection of seafood in the island province.
It is often prepared as the classic seaweed salad or ensaladang lato – served with tomatoes, onions, vinegar and other spices. Aside from being flavorful, this edible seaweed is also packed with vitamins and minerals. Lato is rich in iodine, which may help improve thyroid function.
It also contains vitamins A and C, iron, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Cuyo Island is said to be the source of some best-tasting lato in the Philippines, but you can also try the local dish in Coron and Puerto Princesa. It is served as an appetizer to the signature seafood cuisines of KaLui Restaurant, a popular diner in Puerto Princesa distinguished for its art-inspired ambience and great food.
An exotic twist to the famous Kapampangan delicacy, crocodile sisig can also be on your food bucket list when you’re traveling to Palawan. Instead of the chopped pig’s head and chicken liver that make up the traditional sizzling pork sisig or its common variations like tuna and tofu, crocodile meat is used as the main ingredient of this well-loved Filipino dish. It is best enjoyed as pulutan (appetizer) with an ice-cold beer. You may also eat it as the main dish with rice. Some say croc meat actually tastes like chicken.
If you have an adventurous palate, try this peculiar cuisine in Puerto Princesa’s Ka Inato Restaurant, which also offers other delectable food like its specialty chicken inato and other Pinoy favorites such as kare-kare (seafood), sinuglaw, sinigang (pork or shrimp), adobo (squid or native chicken), nilagang baka, etc. Interestingly, crocodile sisig is also available in the cafe of Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center, where tourists can see live crocs and other wildlife animals up close.
The Palaweños also have their own version of the famed danggit of Cebu. You must taste it when you’re in Coron, and perhaps buy some as pasalubong for your loved ones back home. It’s called danggit lamayo – a less salty, partially sun-dried rabbitfish that’s marinated in vinegar, pepper and garlic.
It’s also bigger compared to the usual danggit in Cebu. Veer away from your typical breakfast and give this delectable dish a try, along with sinangag (garlic fried rice), eggs and tomatoes! Check out Santino’s Grill, where you can order danggit lamayo and its other seafood cuisines if you happen to be in Coron.
Ube Hopia, Tuyo Pastillas, Cashew Nuts & Other Pasalubong
For those who are looking for something to take home for their families and friends, you can shop for the bestselling ube hopia, uniquely flavored tuyo pastillas and other yummy pastries in Baker’s Hill, another haven for foodies in Puerto Princesa. Aside from hopia, which comes in assorted flavors, other baked goodies like egg pie, chocolate crinkles, brownies and pianono are also worth trying. Of course, don’t forget to buy your stash of cashew nuts, which is very abundant in Palawan.
If you’re a bit tired from touring the capital city, you may also stop by for snacks and fill your tummy with the bakeshop’s mouthwatering delights. It also serves traditional Filipino merienda buffet that includes puto and dinuguan, kakanin, arroz caldo, and more. After your pasalubong hunt and snack break, you can revel in the beauty of the mini theme park and garden by taking selfies and snaps of the Instagrammable surroundings.
Nido soup, which is made of edible bird’s nests, is a popular and expensive delicacy in Palawan, especially in El Nido (the name of a coastal municipality in the island province which literally translates to “the nest”). Edible bird’s nest—main ingredient of the much raved about nido soup—refers to the dried saliva of the balinsasayaw or swiftlets, bird species that reside in the limestone cliffs of El Nido and other islands in Palawan.
In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed to have many nutritional and medicinal benefits – that’s why it’s often found on the menu of Chinese restaurants. You can get your nido soup fix at El Nido Skyline Grill and Restaurant or go to Kawayanan Grill if you’re in Coron. Balinsasayaw Chicken Grill and Restaurant in Puerto Princesa is also another option if you’re in the capital. A bowl of this Palawan delicacy can be pricey, but nothing beats the experience of trying out a native dish like this one.
If you’re a big fan of authentic Vietnamese cuisine, you don’t have to travel out of the country to satisfy your cravings. The culinary scene in Puerto Princesa was greatly influenced by the Vietnamese refugees who stayed in a camp in Palawan after escaping the Vietnam War, introducing the culture of their home country through their recipes and cooking styles. One of the dishes that Palaweños love is what they call chao long – a local version of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup)- because it’s deliciously filling and very affordable.
To suit the Filipino taste, the dish is served with a sweeter and richer broth, together with rice noodles, chunks of meat, bean sprouts, mint or basil leaves and calamansi. Chao long and the famous banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich with a bread that’s similar to the French baguette, are a match made in heaven! There’s a plethora of noodle houses or “chaolongans” in Puerto Princesa that you can choose from if you want to eat the Vietnamese beef stew.Some of the highly recommended places to try chao long and other Vietnamese dishes are Viet Ville Restaurant, Rene’s Saigon Vietnamese Specialties and Bona’s Chaolong.
Exploring Palawan is not just a feast to the eyes but to our taste buds as well. If you’re tired of the hustle and bustle of the metro, you can choose to build your family’s vacation home in this breathtaking island province by buying an affordable condo for sale in Puerto Princesa. It can even be your source of passive income if you rent out your unit to tenants.
Make Your Dream Island and City Living Possible
Continue your gastronomic adventures in Palawan and make Puerto Princesa City as your starting point in exploring other postcard-worthy destinations in El Nido, Coron and other nearby places.
Camella Manors Verdant, an RFO condo in Palawan,is the newest and one of the most affordable mid-rise condominiums of Vista Land located in Gabinete Road, Brgy. Bancao-Bancao, Palawan.The 5,075-square meter condo village has two 7-storey structures with a total of 532 units for both buildings. Each building of The Verdant features studio, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom units.
In The Verdant, a resort-themed condo in Palawan, you can enjoy a blend of rural and urban lifestyle as you explore the natural attractions of Puerto Princesa, use the posh amenities of the condo and conveniently access the public transport and malls in the city.
Its resort-style amenities include the swimming pool, kiddie pool, fitness gym, club house, play park and commercial area. The Verdant also has security features like CCTV cameras 24/7 and electric perimeter fence for your peace of mind.
This condo for sale is only 10 minutes away from the Puerto Princesa International Airport as well as the Port of Puerto Princesa. You can easily go to beaches, hospitals, schools, malls, lifestyle centers and other major locations. Ongoing infrastructure developments in the area will possibly increase business and commercial engagements in the city.
For more information about the property, visit Camella Manors’ official website. Come home to The Verdant now!